José Pizarro has lived in the UK for 15 years and in that time has worked at some of London’s most prestigious Spanish restaurants including Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudi. In May 2011 he opened his first solo venture – José – his proudest moment yet. Later that year he opened Pizarro, a few yards away from José.
José was planning to become a dental technician in Spain but realised his love of food was bigger than his love of dentistry and completed one year of catering school in Cáceres before working in a restaurant local to his home town. In 1997 Pizarro moved to Madrid to the award-winning Meson de Doña Filo where he cooked nueva cocina and began his love affair with fresh, brightly flavoured dishes.
José has appeared on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen many times with more appearances planned for this year. In 2014 he also took part in Ch4’s What’s Cooking?, Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose and he also filmed a Spanish special for the newly launched Food Network series, The Big Eat. José has also previously been part of UKTV Food’s Market Kitchen, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and Rick Stein’s Christmas on BBC1.
His first book Seasonal Spanish Food was published in 2009 by Kyle Books, to great critical acclaim. The book has been translated and printed for other markets too, such as the US and Holland. It has even been translated into Spanish for the people of Spain to enjoy. José’s last book, Spanish Flavours, came out in 2012.
One of his highlights of 2014 was being asked to be a keynote speaker at the first Gastronomy Congress, hosted by Estrella Damm at the Hurlingham Club. José took part alongside host Ferran Adrià and 2 Michelin — starred chef, Tom Kerridge.
In May 2014 José was also voted one of ‘100 españoles’ — a hugely prestigious award which showcases the top 100 Spaniards around the world, based on how they have brought their talents to the masses and how they have shown their Spanish pride and love of the country through their work.
José has also recently been awarded a number of other fantastic accolades:
• Ontrade personality of the year 2012 by Harpers Magazine
• Newcomer of the Year 2012 Winner Food and Travel Magazine Awards
• Restaurant of the Year 2012 Winner Food and Travel Magazine Awards
• Restaurant of the Year 2012 World Food Awards
• José voted #38 in Restaurant Magazine’s 2014 Top 100 Restaurants
• 2014 Extremaduran of the Year (a great personal achievement)
Pizarro is the face of Tapas Fantasticas and is also a very successful ambassador for brands such as Codorniu, Olive It!, Estrella Damm, Cinco Jotas & the Olive Oil Producers from Spain / The Good Life Embassy.
2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for José Pizarro, with his long — awaited third restaurant due to open in April and plans for more later this year. José will also be taking part in the re-launched Wines from Spain Annual Trade Tasting in February and he has also been nominated as Imbibe’s Restaurant Personality of the Year, due to be announced in early February. José is working on his third book as well his ambassadorial roles, plus he will also be taking his restaurants to Taste of London in Regent’s Park for the first time.